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If you’re still using Drupal 6 as your CMS, then your time is running out.
Recently, the company officially announced that the platform was reaching its EOL or ‘End Of Life’, and that loyal users would be forced to upgrade to Drupal 7 or 8.
That means no more support from Drupal or from the community; no more fixes or security upgrades; and no more updates.
If you’re serious about your online business, then this isn’t the kind of thing you can ignore: allowing your site to exist without security upgrades is a big risk and could potentially mean someone makes off with all your user information.
But you do have a choice.
You don’t have to upgrade to the next version of Drupal to keep your site ticking over smoothly.
You could decide to ditch Drupal altogether and to move your site to pastures new.
And you probably should too.
The first reason you should consider not upgrading to the next version of Drupal is simple:
It will only be a matter of time before you need to do it again.
And that means more work for you and more expense if you’re using a web developer.
Upgrading Drupal isn’t like upgrading your iPhone either.
This isn’t going to be handled with the click of a button – much of the work done on D6 is depreciated in D7 and the same goes for the jump between D7 and D8.
In fact, because Drupal 8 hasn’t been out as long, some developers will still choose D7 or D6 over 8 just because more has been done on it which means it’s often faster to develop with.
This should tell you just how ugly the whole situation is…
Why should you have to completely replace the entire backbone of your website every few years? This just isn’t convenient for users and it’s why Drupal has a reputation for horrid updates.
So make the switch to something with a more modern development cycle.
Even Windows is doing away with numbered versions! Yes, that means that Microsoft is now cooler than Drupal…
Drupal uses a ton of RAM and is super inefficient.
While you’re installing new versions each time you upgrade, all those new versions are built on top of the existing code.
Eight generations in and the mess of Drupal’s backlog is beginning to cause it to collapse under its own weight.
Slow, sluggish and prone to crashing – why not use something a lot lighter and nimbler?
Moving from Drupal to SaaS is like going from a white van to a sports car.
The result will be noticeable for your users who will enjoy seeing your pages load in a flash and this can also greatly benefit you from a search engine optimization perspective too.
Sites that load slowly don’t perform as well – it’s that simple. If your users have to wait, they’ll probably go elsewhere.
There are plenty of other examples of Drupal being inefficient in the way it does things too.
One is its use of caching.
Caching is how it gets around the memory hogging problem and lets your site load quickly but it also means that sometimes things don’t get refreshed when they should be.
There are ways around this of course.
You could for instance tune MySQL to cache most of the database in RAM, or you could use file-based caches to leapfrog Drupal where necessary.
Or you could just bash your head against the wall and hope it all goes away.
Does that sound easy, simple, or efficient? It’s just a massive headache!
Another issue with Drupal’s “release" nature?
It means poorer security.
A year ago, Drupal 7.32 was released with a vulnerability that allowed Russian hackers to gain access to “between 10 and 90% of all Drupal site” databases, and therefore, the sites themselves.
It was vital for users to apply patches as soon as possible to alleviate the risk.
But this vulnerability, when updates are essentially rolled out at the user's’ discretion, means that it’s going to be much easier for a malicious attack to steal your client information, or to start leaving unwanted files all over your site linking to places where you can buy Viagra.
Again, this isn’t good and it’s the kind of thing that you shouldn’t have to worry about any more.
When you switch to another content management system (CMS) you can finally rest easy knowing that your site is safe and secure.
The great thing about a SaaS-based product is that it’s super easy to install, modify and maintain.
Drupal, on the other hand, couldn’t be denser if it were the prequel to War & Peace.
Using Drupal then gives you two options:
The first being to try and learn your way around yourself – which will take an awful lot of time and probably give you a big headache.
The second option is to let your developers handle the installation and updates for you.
This is actually just as much of an issue, as it means you’ll have to pay someone more and the work is likely to be slower and less efficient.
There are a fair number of Drupal developers out there but they range vastly in quality.
Seeing as these changes will be made while your site is live, you’re putting a lot of stock in someone to see your code, and any changes they make to the core code will cause all kinds of problems in the next upgrade.
Seriously, does this sound like something you want to keep working with?
On the other hand, if you pay a developer once to help you migrate to a SaaS-based system, then you’ll be free of all the trials and tribulations associated with Drupal.
There’s no ‘end of life’, there’s no vendor lock-in and there’s no security concerns or caching issues.
But more than that, it’s all just incredibly easy to use and for many tasks, you won’t even need a backend developer.
Want to change the look of your site? Then just change the skin! Need to update? It couldn’t be simpler.
For all these reasons, more and more businesses owners are now making the move to SaaS over Drupal.
To be honest, they’re going everywhere instead of Drupal.
There’s a good chance that the death of the popular Drupal 6 will end up being the final nail in the coffin of Drupal itself.
We might be on the brink of the Drupalocalypse.
Stay in Drupal 6 and it’s only a matter of time before vulnerabilities are exposed.
Upgrade, and after an intensive process of updating your core code and setting up new modules, you’ll find yourself on the cusp of having to go through the entire process again for Drupal 8, 9, 10, 1028…
Switch on the other hand, and you’ll be waking up to the future. You’ll be presented with a clean interface that you can use to build the site you envisioned without technical difficulties getting in the way.
There are loads of great features unique to SaaS as well. For instance, you can create microsites and update your site with parallel development and scaling is super easy. There’s a massive community and new features are being added all the time.
This is just good business.
Why choose something more complex, that will take longer and cause you all cause of trouble in the future, when you can achieve everything you need to in a much simpler fashion?
Choosing SaaS is choosing the path of least resistance and that’s how you attain maximum ROI with any type of development.
So as we say goodbye to Drupal 6, it’s probably time we said goodbye to Drupal in general as well.
So long old friend – we had some good times.
But then again, we also had some hair-pulling, frustrating times. Come to think of it, there was a lot more of the latter…